The new BMW 5-Series is here! The official unveiling of the new executive express is imminent, but Auto Express is one step ahead of the competition.
Our exclusive images show exactly how the model will shape up. And our German sources have revealed all the details on the car, which is set to be better to drive than ever, yet cheaper to run.
It will look smoother, too, with former design chief Chris Bangle’s controversial styling dropped in favour of a much more conservative shape.
Gone is the awkward boot lip, replaced by a tail inspired by the 7-Series, while a bold crease runs from the front wheelarch to the rear lights. This emphasises the extra 20mm of length the new model has over the outgoing car. Inside, the 5-Series will share its cabin layout with the recently launched 5-Series GT.
As with its Mercedes E-Class arch rival, a barrage of cutting-edge technology will appear – and a healthy proportion of it will be devoted to driving enjoyment. Four-wheel steering is to be carried over from the 5-Series GT, while an active rear differential will provide maximum traction.
Efficiency is high on the agenda, with stop-start ensuring that CO2 emissions tumble by 10-15 per cent. Four-cylinder models are fitted with the set-up from launch, while six-cylinder cars get it in 2011.
Economy is also boosted by new engines, including a 175bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit for the 520i. This will be replaced at a later date by a 2.0-litre turbo, delivering either 200bhp or 250hbp.
The 272bhp straight-six from the 530i will be carried over unchanged, but the 550i will swap its 4.8-litre V8 for the cleaner and more powerful 401bhp twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 from the 7-Series.
Diesel models will receive a similar shake-up. Although the 177bhp 520d will still be the entry point, a 3-Series-style EfficientDynamics variant with emissions of less than 120g/km is likely. Gone is the 197bhp six-cylinder unit from the 525d, replaced by a significantly more efficient 204bhp four-cylinder engine from the 123d. Both the 235bhp 530d and 286bhp twin-turbo 535d will return.
We’ve recently driven ActiveHybrid versions of the 7-Series and X6, and a petrol-electric 5-Series will follow. This variant is likely to appear in showrooms in 2011.
It will feature the same layout as the ActiveHybrid 7, combining a proven 218bhp 3.0-litre petrol engine from the 525i with an electric motor housed in the eight-speed automatic gearbox. But unlike the 7-Series, the ActiveHybrid 5 will have the ability to drive up to 2.5 miles on electric power alone.
The 5-Series family will grow when the Touring version is introduced in February. But performance fans will have to wait until 2012 for the next M5 – and the existing car’s V10 will make way for a 555bhp 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8.